Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Henry Sparkles In Final Championship Appearance As Worcs Triumph

Henry Sparkles In Final Championship Appearance As Worcs Triumph

Worcestershire clinched back to back victories in the Specsavers County Championship as they stepped up their promotion challenge when demolishing Northamptonshire by 311 runs with more than a day to spare at Wantage Road.

Fine bowling by Matt Henry, in his final Championship appearance of his current spell at New Road enabled the County to follow up their home success over Leicestershire with another fine win.

Henry returned figures of 14-3-36-5 – his best figures for Worcestershire – who climbed into second spot in the table after dismissing Northants for 142 in 35.3 overs.

They are now just one point behind leaders Essex who have a game in hand. Northants were set a formidable target of 454 after Worcestershire added 143 runs during the morning session from 24 overs.

But this figure soon became academic as Henry got to work and showed his international class and he has ended his six Championship appearances with 27 wickets and match figures of 31-7-88-8 with Joe Leach – 29.1-4-119-7 – equally effective.

It put the icing on a superb fightback by Worcestershire after they had been 54-5 on the first morning after electing to bat.

Worcestershire resumed on 181-4 – a lead of 310 – and went in search of quick runs to set up the declaration.

Nightwatchman Ed Barnard set the tone with a boundary off the first ball of the day from Rob Keogh.

Tom Fell (45) was trapped lbw by Ben Sanderson by a ball of full length but Ross Whiteley was quickly into his stride with a six over long-on off Keogh to bring up the 200.

Runs flowed freely and Barnard and Whiteley brought up their 50 stand in just eight overs.

Another six by Whiteley off Azhurallah extended Worcestershire's overall advantage past the 400 mark.

Barnard continued his sequence of useful contributions with the bat and had made 34 of a stand of 74 in 11 overs when he was caught behind off Monty Panesar.

Whiteley had advanced to 45 off 36 balls with three sixes and four fours before the left hander and Joe Leach (0) fell to successive balls from Steven Crook.

Ben Cox (20) and George Rhodes (31) added an unbroken 42 in 6.3 overs before the declaration.

Northants were left three overs batting before lunch and the final delivery of the session accounted for skipper Ben Duckett (10).

Brett D'Oliveira got a ball to turn out of the foot marks and it caught the glove of Duckett and popped up to Whiteley at short leg.

The early part of the afternoon session was split into short spells in between the showers but Worcestershire accelerated their victory push with three wickets in quickfire fashion just before tea.

Henry struck a fine rhythm and a full delivery knocked out the middle and off stumps of Keogh (9) and in the same over Rob Newton was dropped at second slip.

Leach accounted for Adam Rossington (3) with the ball ballooning through to Cox via bat and pad.

Then Henry produced a fine delivery which Newton (11) nicked through to Cox.

Tea was taken with Northants 40-4 and the wickets continued to tumble in the final session.

Richard Levi (6) was trapped lbw by a ball of full length from Henry who enjoyed another success as Leach held a good catch running back from mid on to dispose of David Murphy (0).

Crook hit a quickfire 33 before skipper Daryl Mitchell, fielding at mid on after damaging a finger in the slips, clung onto a chance off Leach – his seventh wicket of the game.

Henry completed his five-for as Seekkuge Prasanna (31) went for a hook and was caught by Rhodes backward of square.

Rhodes then experienced the joy of his first Championship wicket as Ben Sanderson (12) played across the line and miscued a steepling catch to Cox.

It was all over after a mix-up saw Panesar (5) run out off D'Oliveira.